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ImageOur children are our biggest imitators. And very often they emulate the practices they see in their parents. So parents must be careful of what they do and say in front of their li'l ones.

Tara Sharma, a home maker recalls her mistake, "Once when I was experiencing a fit of anger I slapped the maid in our house over breaking our expensive cutlery set in front of my two-year-old. Little did I realize that I was setting the stage for my child's subsequent bad behaviour. What followed subsequently took me by surprise. My son started repeating my act. He was actually mimicking me and I was ashamed of the way I had behaved."

Child psychologist Dr Manish Chopra points out, "Kids who are exposed to aggression in their homes are very likely to exhibit the same kind of violent behaviour at an early age."

Children inculcate certain habits and behavioural traits from their parents and their surrounding environment. So, it's quintessential that you keep your child away from practices and influences that can affect their physical and mental growth in the future. We explore what are those 'no-no' moves:

1. Fighting and arguing
Sonia Bhasin, a Bangalore-based home maker says, "Since my husband is the sole earner in our family, money has always been in short supply. And this often leads to disagreements which turn ugly and result in violent fights with my husband. My teenager son, who has grown up seeing the two us fighting, has consequently become ill tempered over the years. He usually keeps it to himself, but when he gets agitated, he erupts like a volcano"
A recent report carried out by researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Indiana revealed that most children who witness domestic violence become bullies themselves.
Parenting Tip: "When parents fight, scream or insult each other, children who are witness become aggressive, anxious and withdrawn. How you two handle disagreements in your relationship will directly impact how your kids learn to equip theirs, once they grow up," says Dr Chopra.

2. Getting cosy.
"My husband is very romantic and sometimes he gets very intimate with me in front of our 10-year old son. I have observed that our son notices our intimate acts and behaves in an unusual way. I have asked my husband to keep a restrain," shares Neha, a school teacher.

Experts suggest that a clear line be drawn between sexual and affectionate behaviour. While the former is harmful, the latter is beneficial. As a parent it's your duty to strike a balance and behave responsibly in front of your kid.
Parenting Tip: Child psychologist, Dr Chopra states, "Certain gestures like hugging, holding hands, placing your head on your partner's shoulder are positive signs that the parents share a healthy relationship. But sexual display of love between a couple often acts like sexual abuse in the child's tender mind. The damages done can be grave and the natural growth of the child can get tampered."

3. Cursing/swearing
Rajesh Pandey, a journalist says, "We often hear our next door neighbour abusing his wife. Me and my wife were worried how it was likely to impact their children. Our fear came true as one day we heard his son, who was in college, cursing his mother in a similar way".
How many times have you dropped the F-bomb in front of your children? Swear words are not always easy to evade, especially if you are used to saying them in your daily vocabulary.
Parenting Tip: Dr Chopra warns against the use of swear words in front of kids. "If you use profanities in front of your children, they will think that it's acceptable to use such words."

4. Watching violence and nudity on screen
Pratima Ishpunani, an interior designer opines, "We make it a point to drop our two kids at my parents' place, when we go out every weekend for a movie. We feel that they are too young to handle violence and nudity that is shown in most of the movies today. However, we do take them out to amusement parks, museums and zoological park to make it up for lost time."
Modern age children are exposed to the TV/Internet at a very early age, so it is imperative to ensure that they do not watch violent and vulgar shows as they has a lasting impact on their mind.
Parenting Tip: "There have been many incidents reported in the media where children have hurt themselves copying daring stunts shown in ads, particularly those which exhibit motorbikes stunts. There is always a potential risk of your child becoming aggressive if they watch too much of violence on the TV, while sleazy and vulgar scenes can make them inquisitive and confused. So, it is important to hold back kids from such exposure till the child reaches an age where he/she can differentiate between what is wrong and what is right," adds Dr Chopra.

5. Drinking/Smoking
"The other day my fourteen-year-old son returned late from his friend's birthday party. I was shocked to see him in an inebriated state. When I questioned him he bluntly snubbed me by reminding me of my drinking habits," says Pranjal Joshi, a businessman. Parenting Tip: Relationship expert, Mahima Mathur points out, "If parents themselves engage in drinking or smoking in front of their children, they lose the moral right to stop their kids from indulging in the same, once they grow up. Besides, it's a known fact that passive smoking can affect children's respiratory system. So, if you want that your child does not imbibe these bad habits, then try to be an ideal role model by becoming a teetotaler or at least do not drink/smoke in front of them."

6. Lying
"To decline unwanted calls, I have often made up several excuses and have relayed them through my 11-year-old daughter. Lately I have observed that she cooks up some story to hide her misdoings," said Trideep, a radio artiste.
"Parents often find themselves lying to their children to avoid confrontation, explanations and tears. Most parents lie to keep inquisitive and difficult questions at bay which they find tricky to handle or answer. Since children rely on adults to explain the world to them, it is not recommended that parents present a different picture to them from what actually is," suggests relationship expert, Mahima Mathur.
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